Draymond Green explains why he’s one of the NBA’s very best players
Draymond Green is one of the best players in the NBA — just ask Draymond Green.
The Golden State Warriors forward boasts unrivaled versatility, defensive prowess and a knack for getting under his opponent's skin. Add it all up, and Green believes he's more valuable than guys who just fill up the box score with no regard for winning games.
“I think I'm one of the best players in the NBA,” Green said to ESPN. “Am I going to go out and score 30 every night? Absolutely not. But I didn't say I was one of the best scorers. I think I'm one of the best players, and I think anybody should believe that. I think if you don't believe that, you're failing yourself, and you're not allowing yourself to be that … But I don't say that in a sense of, 'Oh, I'm one of the best. I'm better than Steph, I'm better than KD.' Like, that isn't me. When I just look at the game, that's how I feel.
“But the things that I do are more self-gratifying than anything. I don't do something to say, 'Man, I wonder if they saw that screen I just set. I wonder if they saw what I just did to help him get that bucket.' I don't do that, but I'll run down the court feeling amazing about it. That's just kind of how I am.”
Green explained his perspective with a simple in-game example: when a better shooter is open, you make the right play for the good of your team:
“I do turn down some shots, but I think that's just basketball knowledge,” Green said to ESPN. “If I'm open and KD's open, if you're smart, you throw the ball to KD and let him shoot it. If I'm open and Steph’s open, if you have any type of sense, you throw the ball to him and let him shoot it. If I'm open and Klay is open, if you have any brainpower, you'll throw the ball to him and let him shoot it. So that's just the way I play the game of basketball.”
It's exceedingly obvious — get the ball to the guy with the best chance of making the shot — but that's rarely how things work in the NBA. Too many basketball players only want to get theirs, piling up enough numbers to earn the next contract.
In fact, outside of being a real superstar like LeBron James or Kevin Durant, simply making the right choice while avoiding crucial mistakes is one of the most valuable skills in the NBA.
And it absolutely is a skill, or else every player would be capable of doing what Green does. By his own admission, he's clearly not the most talented player on the floor, or the best shooter, or the best passer, or the best anything. But his ability to read a defense in an instant and get the ball where it needs to be, for instance, separates someone like Green from the long history of basketball tweeners who were good enough to make the association yet never made a real impact on the game.
If you can't beat them, outsmart them. It's worked for Green so far.